Raiders show 'tremendous grit,' find way to win another close game

Raiders show 'tremendous grit,' find way to win another close game

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders spent three quarters on Monday night trying to find a rhythm. Never did. They were losing battles up front, failing to generate a running attack and struggling to keep pace with the Houston Texans.

No matter. Derek Carr knew they were going to win.

It wasn’t blind faith. The Raiders are closers, with several comeback wins on their resume. Add another one to the list.

The Raiders scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat the Texans 27-20 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

“We got punched in the mouth, for lack of a better word, and we were throwing them back,” Carr said. “It was 10-10, tie game, tough game at half. We weren't doing things the way we usually want to do things, execution-wise. But there was no doubt in anybody's mind that we were going to come back and win the football game.”

Carr threw two touchdown passes down the stretch, accurate balls that allowed his skill players to make magic. Jamize Olawale tied the game on a 75-yard touchdown where he got lost in a coverage shuffle. Carr hit Amari Cooper on a 35-yard scoring strike where Cooper caught the ball, made a great cut and zoomed through traffic en route to the end zone.

The defense held strong down the stretch and the Raiders milked the clock with a long drive that killed the final three minutes.

It brought the Raiders to 8-2 and atop the AFC West. They’ve won four straight, and have supreme confidence in their ability to compete with anyone, even when things aren’t going great.

“That wasn’t a clean game, but our guys showed tremendous grit,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We got an opportunity to seize control and were able to do that. We made the plays we need to make to get a hard-earned win.”

These comebacks have become a Raiders signature, after so many dramatic wins. They came back and bit New Orleans, Baltimore and Tampa Bay that way. Houston is the latest victim.

“We had to come up with some big plays there at the end, and we were able to get that job done,” running back Latavius Murray said. “It gave us the chance to get this win. The defense played great, and the offense had go to out there and get a lead late.

“It really feels good. What’s special about this team is that we keep finding ways to win. We have to continue to work and continue to get better as we move forward.”

NFL free agency: Raiders sign QB Mike Glennon to back up Derek Carr


NFL free agency: Raiders sign QB Mike Glennon to back up Derek Carr

The Raiders wanted an experienced backup quarterback behind Derek Carr, and got one Friday by signing Mike Glennon.

Now they hope he never plays. It’s still a vital role in meeting rooms and on-the-field, should an emergency arise on game day. Young bucks can get caught in the headlights. Veterans won’t be as good as the starter, but can generally function better being inserted into a game without many practice reps.

He has hopped into action during five seasons and has 22 starts, meaning he can handle short-relief or a stretch as the starter.

That calms some fan's nerves after the Raiders released AJ McCarron, who has already signed with the Houston Texans, leaving Nathan Peterman as the only non-Carr quarterback on the roster.

Glennon steps into the No. 2 slot having completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 5,107 yards and 35 touchdowns with 20 interceptions over five seasons.

Peterman is still with the Raiders on a futures contract, and is the No. 3 guy at the moment.

Many will look at the signing and wonder if it impacts the possibility of drafting a quarterback next month. It’s hard to rule anything out, but the disciplined choice would be to address the pass rush early and often in the 2019 NFL Draft, though a quarterback could get taken later in the selection process.

But…having Glennon on the roster won’t prohibit the Raiders from taking Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins. Would the Raiders eliminate the prospect of taking Quinnen Williams because interior pass rushers P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst were drafted last year? Absolutely not.

A edge rusher is the team’s most pressing need and must be addressed with quality and quantity before the season starts.

The Raiders don’t have to take a quarterback now in the draft, and adding Glennon takes the pressure off the demand to get another one down the line. Glennon should be viewed as a reliable backup who can step into service if Carr isn’t available.

Curtis Riley signs with Raiders to boost short-handed secondary

Curtis Riley signs with Raiders to boost short-handed secondary

The Raiders continued fleshing out their secondary on Friday agreeing on terms of a contract with safety Curtis Riley, the team announced Friday. The former New York Giant visited the team’s Alameda facility on Thursday and left without a deal, but he ended up taking the Raiders offer despite interest from other teams.

Riley hinted at a pact on Twitter on Friday, saying he was coming to the Bay Area. He’ll exchange coasts after starting all 16 games at free safety with last year’s Giants. He had 75 tackles, four interceptions and five pass breakups for that squad.

He’ll have an opportunity to play significant snaps in the Raiders secondary. High-priced free-agent signing Lamarcus Joyner is also a free safety, but is expected to play slot cornerback regularly in 2019, likely shuttling back and forth between positions.

Riley could step in as the free safety in sub packages that defenses spend significant time in nowadays. Erik Harris will compete for that role opposite strong safety Karl Joseph.

The Raiders have options in the secondary now, with the aforementioned safeties and depth at cornerback. Gareon Conley’s a virtual lock to start at one outside cornerback spot. Daryl Worley’s expected to return on a second-round free-agent tender, through Thursday’s signing Nevin Lawson will compete for time there as well. Last year’s fourth-round pick Nick Nelson will have to fight for time with this new defensive back depth chart.

The Raiders could well draft another defensive back as well, especially if a good one slips and becomes a great value pick.

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News of Riley’s agreement should excite quarterback Derek Carr. Riley’s a fellow Fresno State alum. and was teammates with Carr in 2013.

The Raiders also had interest in George Iloka, who played with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in Cincinnati. Iloka visited the Raiders complex Thursday, but left without a deal and scheduled other visits.